Remember, a genome is a complete set of instructions for an organism.
So with that said, does a human have more genes in their genome than a carrot? Or does a carrot have more genes in their genome than a human?
Drum roll please…The correct answer: A Carrot
The carrot genome is longer with 32,000 genes compared to the human genome with 19,000 genes.
That’s incredible, right? How is that possible? Carrots just grow. We walk and talk and think…
Well, scientists now believe humans have a second genome. We essentially outsource our genes to our microbiome.
Wow. We should probably say thanks to our microbiome, but, um, what is our microbiome?
A microbiome is a community of bacteria. There are over 100 TRILLION bacteria cells in our microbiome. These microscopic bacteria live on our skin, in our mouth, in our digestive tract and other parts of our body. In fact, the microbiome contains 90% of our cells. Only 10% of cells in our body are human cells.
Our microbiome has a genome too – which contains 3,300,000 genes. That’s right, the microbiome genome is more than 170 times larger than our genome.
How wild is that? The bacteria in and on our body contain 170x more genes than our body.
So with the help of our microbiome, our genome goes from 19,000 to more than 3.3 million genes. This could help explain how humans can do much more than just grow in dirt like a carrot with its measly 32,000 genes.
Clearly, we need to support our bacterial friends – which is where probiotics can help. The microbiome contains a diverse population of bacterias. Some bacterias are helpful for supporting our immune system and our health. Some bacterias are not helpful. These “bad” bacterias attack the lining of our digestive system and can cause harmful stuff to pass into our bloodstream.
We want more “good” bacterias in the population of our microbiome.
Probiotic supplements are live bacteria. They are a blend of different types of bacteria that support your health. These types of bacteria are good for your microbiome, so by taking probiotic supplements, you help maintain a healthy population of the right bacteria in your body.
Probiotics contribute to making our microbiome a happy place, and since our microbiome is 90% of our cells, scientists are discovering that a happy microbiome can help support nearly every aspect of your health.